15 May 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Windermere illegal sewage dumps: A complete scandal that can’t go on
  • PMQs: Armed forces homes only to be repaired in emergencies as PM refuses to stump up extra cash
  • Sewage vote: Conservative MPs vote against law that would have sent water companies to court
  • 80,000 Scottish households face mortgage rate hike by November
  • Accounts Commission report shows councils have faced a scythe to their funds
  • “Deliver a payment scheme that farmers can have faith in” – Welsh Lib Dems call for Welsh Gov to listen to farmers over SFS reforms

Windermere illegal sewage dumps: A complete scandal that can’t go on

Responding to the news that untreated sewage was illegally pumped into Lake Windermere, Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson Tim Farron MP said:

This is a scandal. We can’t let them get away with this any longer.

The public are rightly furious that their favourite local rivers and lakes are being spoiled while water company bosses accept huge bonuses.

I hope Parliament accept my amendment today which could see water company bosses prosecuted for sewage pollution.

Rishi Sunak and his government must finally take tough action to tackle sewage dumping now instead of cosying up with the big water company bosses.

PMQs: Armed forces homes only to be repaired in emergencies as PM refuses to stump up extra cash

The Prime Minister today refused to commit extra cash for repairs for armed forces families homes despite the Head of Accommodation for the Defence Infrastructure Organisation revealing that military families could only expect repairs to their home in emergencies.

The lack of money for repairs was revealed by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation’s new Head of Accommodation in her first update to military families this month.

Air Commodore Leah Griffin assured families that she was working to challenge the budget settlement but said non-urgent repairs and home improvements were “not currently affordable”.

Air Commodore Griffin also said that she was having to “make the case for investing in Service family housing” due to finances in the DIO that are “more challenging than ever”.

It comes as serving personnel and their families are having important requests for home repairs and upgrades denied as a lack of funding means only emergency work is being approved.

This is despite long-running problems that have seen many families forced to live in damp, cold and mouldy accommodation and troops put up in shipping style containers at Tern Hill Barracks.

Lib Dem MP Helen Morgan challenged Rishi Sunak over his commitment to the armed forces today at PMQs after this shocking admission. In response, the Prime Minister refused to commit to any additional funding to address this situation.

The North Shropshire MP has had constituents report to her that their military housing has experienced horror stories ranging from exploding boilers to collapsing roofs. In one case, a constituent recently required alterations to their shower to access it after major surgery but was told this was not possible due to the lack of budget for housing repairs. The problem was only fixed when Helen became involved.

The news undermines the Prime Minister’s claims to be prioritising defence and the Government’s recent commitment to bringing all military accommodation up to the Decent Homes Standard – a pledge that came in response to a proposed law change from Helen Morgan who has been a long-time campaigner on this issue.

In response to the Prime Minister’s answer, Liberal Democrat MP for North Shropshire Helen Morgan MP said:

Rishi Sunak talks a big game about defence but he isn’t even prepared to guarantee service families decent quality homes to live in.

Military morale is lower than ever because those who serve our country have been subject to years of neglect by this Conservative government.

Service people put their lives on the line to keep us and our allies safe. The least they should get in return is a clean, warm and safe home.

Our armed forces deserve a Government that takes their needs seriously and backs up its words with real actions.

That means upgrading military housing and removing repair contracts from companies that don’t do their job.

We used to talk about building homes fit for heroes – and that’s the very least we can deliver.

Sewage vote: Conservative MPs vote against law that would have sent water companies to court

Tonight, Conservative MPs have voted against the Liberal Democrat amendment, put forward by Tim Farron, to the Criminal Justice Bill, which would have sent water companies to court for sewage dumping.

Liberal Democrat Environment spokesperson Tim Farron MP said:

This is a scandal.

Conservative MPs have yet again voted against taking tough action on polluting and profiteering water firms.

This government just doesn’t get it and is standing idly by whilst water firms destroy our lakes, rivers and beaches with raw sewage.

This amendment would have delivered justice for swimmers, wildlife and our environment. Instead, Conservative MPs backed the water companies, who are already stuffing their pockets with profits and bonuses. Frankly, the whole thing stinks.

80,000 Scottish households face mortgage rate hike by November

Liberal Democrat Scottish affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine MP has today accused the Prime Minister of “ignoring peoples’ pain” as research commissioned by her party revealed that as many as 80,000 households are set to see their mortgages hiked by November this year.

House of Commons Library research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has found that 80,000 households in Scotland will face a mortgage increase between now and a potential November election. This amounts to an average of 374 households a day.

Commenting on the figures, Christine Jardine said:

These nightmare figures for families up and down Scotland show that Rishi Sunak’s claim that his plans are working just don’t match the reality for families.

Mortgage costs are going up every day and for thousands of families that will mean sleepless nights, difficult decisions about how to make ends meet and worse.

Voters feel they are being taken for granted, we have seen that reflected time and again at local elections both sides of the border and it feels as if the Prime Minister is just ignoring peoples’ pain.

Rather than clinging on in Downing Street, it is time for Rishi Sunak to face the music and allow voters to deliver their verdict on his out-of-touch government by calling a General Election now.

Accounts Commission report shows councils have faced a scythe to their funds

Responding to the embargoed report from the Accounts Commission which warns that Scotland’s councils faced a collective gap of up to £585 million between the money needed to deliver services and the money available when setting their budgets this year and that this is estimated to increase to £780 million by 2026/27, Scottish Liberal Democrat economy spokesperson Willie Rennie said:

The SNP Government have been loading extra responsibilities and costs onto councils whilst taking a scythe to their funds and tying their hands on the council tax.

This huge financial gap means children losing out on education, pot holes left unfilled and elderly people without support.

The SNP Government need to change the habit of the last seventeen years and support councils rather than undermine them.

“Deliver a payment scheme that farmers can have faith in” – Welsh Lib Dems call for Welsh Gov to listen to farmers over SFS reforms

This week in the Senedd, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have urged the new Rural Affairs and Climate Secretary to deliver a payment scheme that works for Welsh farmers.

The call comes after it was announced on Tuesday that the controversial Sustainable Farming Scheme is set to be delayed until 2026.

The scheme has previously been heavily criticised for the harsh conditions it would have placed on farmers seeking government funding.

Speaking in the Siambr, Welsh Lib Dem leader Jane Dodds MS urged the Welsh Labour Ministers to listen to the concerns of both the agricultural sector and rural communities,

The party leader also demanded that the Welsh Government should deliver a payment scheme that “farmers could have faith in”.

Commenting, the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds MS said:

I welcome the Welsh Government’s commitment to resetting this flawed payment system, as well as their willingness to finally listen to farmers who have been ignored for far too long.

I can only hope that from these conversations stems a payment scheme that farmers can have faith in.

But this will only happen if Welsh Labour Ministers are willing to openly engage with our agricultural and rural communities, something that they have been hesitant to do in the past.

For too long, agriculture policies have been disconnected from on-the-ground realities, breeding intense frustration and distrust from the very same people we are meant to be representing.

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This entry was posted in News, Press releases, Scotland and Wales.
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